May 24: Celtics 94, Pistons 80

The AP reports: The Boston Celtics insisted they weren’t worried about winning a road game, knowing their time would come in the playoffs. Perfect timing. Kevin Garnett scored 22 points to lead Boston to a 94-80 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night and a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals… Boston’s Big Three scored as much as its supporting cast… Two of the Pistons’ starters had awful games. Tayshaun Prince scored four points and Chauncey Billups had six, combining to shoot 3-for-17… The Celtics led 50-32 after holding Detroit to a playoff-low in the first half and getting at least two points from each of the nine Celtics who played… Detroit rallied to pull within 87-78—its smallest deficit since midway through the second quarter—with 3 minutes left, but couldn’t get closer in a game in which it trailed by as many as 24 points. Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 46.4%, the Pistons just 38.4%. And the Celtics nailed a decent 5-of-14 three-pointers, the Pistons an awful 1-of-13. Free throws were close. The Celtics dominated the glass, 44-28 rebounds, and dished a few more assists. The Pistons did get more steals, and won blocks, 9-3.

For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett (7-of-16) had 22 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Ray Allen (awful 5-of-16, 1-of-6 threes) had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists (so at least he stepped up in the non-shooting department). Rajon Rondo (5-of-10) had 12 points but more turnovers than assists. Kenderick Perkins (6-of-7) had 12 points and 10 rebounds. James Posey on just 5 shots had 12 points off the bench. Pierce Pierce (4-of-6) was off with 11 points, a few steals, and 5 turnovers.

For the Pistons, Richard Hamilton (8-of-18, 10-of-10 free throws) had 26 points, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Rodney Stuckey (4-of-12, but 9-of-10 free throws) had 17 points, 4 assists and 4 steals off the bench. Rasheed Wallace (6-of-13) had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups were both lousy. Jason Maxiell had 7 with 2 blocks off the bench.

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